Introduction: Vascular calcification is a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in the general population. It is highly prevalent in end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. Low magnesium (Mg) levels have been reported to have a strong association with vascular calcification in hemodialysis (HD) patients. The aims of this study were to evaluate the prevalence of vascular calcification and its relation to serum Mg concentration in a group of Egyptian HD patients.
Methods: We studied 65 stable patients undergoing maintenance HD for more than 6 months. Vascular calcification was evaluated using hand roentgenography. Serum Mg, phosphorus, corrected calcium and intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) levels were compared between patients with and without vascular calcification.
Results: The study included 41 male and 24 female patients, aged 43-70 years. Vascular calcification was present in 38.5% of the patients. Mean serum Mg level was 2.88 ± 0.51 mg/dl. Male gender was more common in patients with vascular calcification, and they had significantly longer HD duration and significantly higher serum phosphorus and iPTH levels. Serum Mg level was significantly lower in patients with vascular calcification (2.36 ± 0.26 mg/dl vs.3.21 ± 0.32 mg/dl, p = 0.001). Serum Mg concentration remained as independent negative predictor of hand-artery vascular calcification after adjustment for age, gender, duration of HD, serum phosphorus and iPTH levels.
Conclusion: Vascular calcification is common in the study population and is associated with a lower serum Mg level. High or sustained-normal Mg levels may have a protective role against the development of vascular calcification in HD patients.
Keywords: hemodialysis; magnesium; renal failure; vascular calcification